David J. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D.

David J. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., is a pediatric neurosurgeon who specializes in pediatric brain tumors. He spends his clinical time managing patients with complex brain tumors, both in the operating room and in the outpatient setting. Tumors from the operating room go to his laboratory for further study. Some of these tumors become established cell lines that can be studied to learn more about how they work and identify new ways to treat some of these deadly diseases. In addition to brain tumors, Dr. Daniels manages and treats general pediatric neurosurgical conditions, including:

  • Hydrocephalus
  • Chiari I malformations
  • Arachnoid cysts
  • Spine disorders including tethered cord
  • Spinal tumors
  • Vascular malformations
  • Head and spine trauma

In addition to his active brain tumor research, Dr. Daniels teaches medical students and graduate students and mentors neurosurgical residents.

  1. Pediatric cervical spine surgery
  2. Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Pediatric brain tumors
  1. 2014
    Fellow - Pediatric NeurosurgerySt. Jude Children's Research Hospital/LeBonheur Children's Hospital, University of Tennessee
  2. 2013
    ResidentNeurologic Surgery Program, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  3. 2007
    MDUniversity of Minnesota Medical School
  4. 2006
    PhD - Medicinal ChemistryUniversity of Minnesota
  5. 1997
    BS - ChemistryUniversity of Minnesota Institute of Technology


  1. 2018
    Neurological SurgeryAmerican Board of Neurological Surgery
  2. 2018
    Pediatric Neurological SurgeryAmerican Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery

Awards and honors

  1. 2020
    2020 Top Doctor Award Minnesota Monthly's 2020 Top Doctors
  2. 2019
    Top Doctors of 2018-2019Minnesota Monthly Magazine
  3. 2019
    2019 Top Doctor Award Minnesota Monthly's 2020 Top Doctors
  4. 2018
    2018 Top Doctor Award Minnesota Monthly's 2020 Top Doctors
  5. 2017
    NIH Loan Repayment AwardPediatric Research
  6. 2013
    Resident Teaching AwardMayo Clinic
  7. 2012
    First Annual David Piepgras AwardMinnesota Neurosurgical Society
  8. 2011
    NINDS Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Training Grant in Neuro-oncology, T32 NS04794National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Health
  9. 2011
    Distinguished Alumni AwardFridley High School
  10. 2011
    97th percentile on written examAmerican Board of Neurological Surgeons
  11. 2011
    First Runner-upCNS SANS Resident Challenge
  12. 2011
    Resident AwardMinnesota Neurosurgical Society
  13. 2010
    Karis AwardMayo Clinic
  14. 2006
    MemberAlpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society (Junior Class)
  15. 2003
    Honored all medical school coursesUniversity of Minnesota
  16. 2003
    Pre-doctoral FellowshipAmerican Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education
  17. 2002
    Pre-doctoral FellowshipAmerican Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education
  18. 2001
    Pre-doctoral FellowshipAmerican Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education
  19. 1999
    Honored all graduate school coursesUniversity of Minnesota

Professional memberships

  1. 2018 - present
    Associate Program DirectorDepartment of Neurosurgery
  2. 2017 - 2019
    Research Committee of the Pediatric SectionAANS/CNS Section for Pediatric Neurosurgery, American Association of Neurological Surgeons
  3. 2017 - present
    MemberMd/PhD Admissions Committee, Mayo Clinic Committees
  4. 2016 - present
    MemberAmerican Association of Neurological Surgeons
  5. 2016 - present
    MemberGraduate School Admissions Committee (MPET)
  6. 2014 - present
    MemberSociety for Neuro-Oncology
  7. 2014 - present
    MemberMayo Clinic Cancer Center
  8. 2014 - present
    MemberEducation Committee, Neurosurgery
  9. 2014 - present
    MemberPediatric Trauma Committee


Research activities

See a description of research activities.